Inspiron 6000 only boots to flashing cuursor - General Hardware - Laptop - Dell Community

Inspiron 6000 only boots to flashing cuursor


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Inspiron 6000 only boots to flashing cuursor

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Over the past 12 months I have replaced the hard drive in my Inspiron 6000 four times. No added software, no driver updates, no changes to the system. I use Ghost 12 as a backup system. When the problem occurs the machine will start the Dell bios screen and then go to a black screen with a flashing cursor in the top left corner.

Each time I have removed the hard drive and attached it to a working computer via a USB cable and all the data is fine. Nothing wrong with the hard drive but I have replaced the drive anyway and use the old one(s) as an external USB drive.

I have tallked to Dell - Reload OS

I have talked to Microsoft - "Talk to Dell"

Cant talk to Norton without $$

I thought that something was happening to the boot.ini or NTldr file and suspect it is Ghost. This last time I had to go to a 10 day old backup and it restored. All 9 other more recent images resulted in the same problem of not booting and the flashing cursor. The prior 3 ocasions I reloaded the OS (XP Pro). I have run the MBR fix program no difference. I have checked the boot files on the working and non working images and drives and they are identical.

Then I thought it was windows up date because I leave my computer on all the time and the problem shows up on a reboot. Sometimes windows update will reboot the computer through the night. Microsoft said call Dell since the OS didn't even load, it's not the OS.

Anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

All Replies
  • This sounds much more like a failing mainboard than a failing hard drive.

    Out of warranty you're looking at a $400-500 repair - which probably doesn't make economic sense on a system this old.

  • have you been able to run diagnostics from F12? My immediate thoughts are: possible hard drive cable problem; or (hopefully not) motherboard. 


  • husky0894

    This sounds much more like a failing mainboard than a failing hard drive.

    Out of warranty you're looking at a $400-500 repair - which probably doesn't make economic sense on a system this old.


    Seems like I would have difficulty reinstalling the OS or restoring all disk images if that was the issue?

  • Yes. Forgot to mention that. Diags were fine. Bios sees hard drive no problem.

  • Not necessarily - the board may have an intermittent fault, or as is often the case, simply be showing the first signs of failure, which can be intermittent.

    When the system boots to a flashing underscore, it's almost always a failing or failed mainboard.


  • What a shame. I really like that laptop. Are there any other symptoms to look for?Crying

  • Same problem for me, only gets to black screen and cursor on boot.  Can see the files on the drive if booted from CD.

  • I just started having the same problem. I went back and used the image off my original HD and everything seems to be working OK again. One thing I noticed when I started having problems was the Blue bar that says DELL INC at the top of the screen right after the boot screen was missing. It also looks like the NTLDR file just recently got updated on 2/19/09 and that is about the time I started having problems.

    Running XP Media Center Ed on my 3 year old Inspiron 6000. Upgraded my HD to a WD 160GB in June 2008 and has been running good until 2 weeks ago. Just like you said running all the diagnostics show no problems. I am also using Ghost ver 12.


  • Create a BartPE  rescue CD. Boot with it. Backup you data then try a windows repair install. If it is jsut a corrupt os on the hd this will fix it.

  • I don't know how useful this will be since it has been over a year since the original post, but other people may have the same problem

    I bought a 160 GB drive to replace my failing 60 GB drive and it worked fine for 5 months. After I used around 75% of my hard drive, my computer will boot into a blank screen with a blinking cursor. The reason for this is the computer can only recognize hard drive with 137 GB or less. I'm not sure why this is but Dell should have this in their support information, The best way to solve this issue is to buy a drive that has less than 137 GB or use a partitioning utility to shrink the C drive to about 120 GB using an USB caddy on another PC. If you have While accessing your hard drive through another PC you might want to do a back up, delete some files to get the drive below 120 GB, perform a disk defragmenter, and then shrink the drive. I hope this works for you or anybody else who has this problem.

  • Usually XP will see the full size of the hard drive if the laptp bios does not. I would boot with an XP install CD run a check disk if that does not fix the problem try a repair install.